Khanty-Mansiysk. U??ir (UTair Aviation, JSC) has won a tender of the Association for Extinguishing of Forest Fires in South Africa.
A contract expiring in 2005 with a possibility of prolongation has been signed, following the announcement of the results of the tender. The contract provides for the use of two Mi-8 helicopters.
A special permit for operation of helicopters under the UTair flag has been received from the aviation authorities of South Africa. Having passed exams, the entire flight crew has been authorized to participate in extinguishing forest fires all over South Africa.
This is another step by the Russian helicopter operator in the development of business on the South African market.
The development program includes the opening and certification of a training center for flight crews in South Africa, a center for technical maintenance of helicopters of the Mi type, and a regional airline.
Additionally, UTair helicopters currently provide transport support for UN peacekeeping missions in East Timor, Sierra-Leone, Eritrea, Congo and Liberia.
UTair is a major operator of helicopters in the world and one of the biggest passenger carriers in Russia. The airline's fleet consists of 301 aircraft, including 184 helicopters.